I have noticed something in today’s NHS and it’s something I can only describe as ‘healthcare martyrdom’.
This pervasive culture which has permeated our hospitals makes nurses sacrifice their sanity on a regular basis.
Even before I started my nurse training I would notice staff on the ward missing their lunch break in order to finish some paperwork, or if they were to take a break they would sit in front of the computer with one hand on a sandwich and the other hand on a mouse.
I saw nurses who said that they hadn’t had a toilet break or a drink all day because there wasn’t the time. There were nurses who frequently stayed hours after their shift had finished at 9:30 PM only to be back at 7 the next morning. I’m sure that many students also can relate to this, not wanting to break the status quo and trying to give a good impression.
I’m think that this culture is dangerous and destructive.
So who is my priority? Is it my patients? My family? Or should it be me?
If we continue to put ourselves at the bottom of the list of priorities then we shall end up worn out and broken. We will become ill and tired before our time. We won’t be able to function or care for the patients that are the very reason we entered this profession in the first place.
If we started to put ourselves first on more occasions than I believe we will become more productive and compassionate nurses.
I’m not saying we should all become self-centred. But every day when I see nurses suffering I feel worried.
So take that two minute water break, go to the toilet if you need to and try to eat somewhere that doesn’t remind you of the work you have to do.
Because if you become unwell, who will be left to look after your patients?